Second-Annual Hoodstock Celebrates Music, Natural Surroundings

By Melinda Minton

Celebrating its second year, Hoodstock comes with a diverse blend of musical genres with an authenticity and love of artistry for which the event is known — a tapestry of sounds in the surroundings of Hood Canal celebrating local musicians and other artists.

Among the local musical talents taking the stage this year are Skyla Kate, Scott Lesman & The Nogoodnicks, Hippy & The Squids, The Psychedelic Shadow Show, ALTERN8NRG, Lisa Ramsauer, Seth Ryan Unger, Kirk & Friends, Dan Walker, Pops Gonzo, Joe Abrams, Stone Riot, Hopkins Switch, Hurts Like Hell, Sky Cries Mary, Cailley Robinson,  Jeanlizabeth, David Ashby, The Lady Drinks Whiskey, Ross Robinson & Friends, The Padillacs and Suped Up Fjord.

“What I love about the Hood Canal music scene is the genuine appreciation of music regardless of genre, and you see that at Hoodstock,” says Joel Oblizalo, front man of Pops Gonzo. “There’s blues, folk, pop, grunge and a couple of great psychedelic bands, including Seattle legends Sky Cries Mary, who are headlining. There’s really something for everyone.”

Oblizalo mused on the variety of instruments that will be heard at the event. “I will say that the weapon of choice around here tends to be an acoustic guitar, but it’s played in so many different styles that you really have no idea what genre you’re going to hear when an act steps to the stage with one.”

At a time when Seattle is altering the Evergreen State with technology and transplants, Hoodstock will celebrate sustainability, honoring local bands and vendors. Protecting the canal is certainly the main focus.

“Seattle has certainly seen a lot of change,” shared Oblizalo, who is from the area but now lives in Los Angeles. “The tech boom brought a huge population increase over the last decade, and the rising housing costs have pushed people further and further out of the city. Hood Canal is far enough out that for the most part you’d only notice a little more traffic, but you can still sense a shift. Meanwhile, the canal itself is increasingly in trouble: The salmon, shrimp and crab populations are all at a fraction of what they were in the past, the oxygen levels are down, the nitrogen levels are up and it feels like we’re only just starting to get momentum toward reversing those trends.”

Kelli Kohout, founder of the festival, says, “I came back from a business trip in China and felt like I could make something like (Hoodstock) happen. It was clearly about creativity, expression and community.”

Kohout is looking forward to Hoodstock’s second year with help from Shannon Crabb-Stanton and Meghan Mayes. “We have 39 bands this year along with food trucks and local artists. It is all about giving back to the community and preserving a natural treasure,” Kohout added.

The feast of incredible music with a taste of community and artistry can be paired with camping, local lodging or a single day of attendance. For craft lovers, the festival features a beer garden sponsored by Georgetown Brewing of Seattle, which is contributing all proceeds to The Salmon Center Fishbowl Amphitheater Project.

Oblizalo says he agrees with Kohout on the need for linking the festival to preservation. “(Seattle’s) changes are inevitably the backdrop and the context we’re all making music within. I think for Kelli Kohout, those changes inspired her to want to do something to celebrate and nurture what makes this community unique. Luckily for all of us, she dreamed big enough to start a music festival. That’s what Hoodstock is about: celebrating the Hood Canal vibe, protecting the Canal itself and maybe showing the transplants how the locals like to kick it.”

Shuttle service will be available Saturday, August 17 from Shelton, Belfair and Union by Mason Transit Authority. Camping is on a first come, first serve basis.  The event is for those 21 and older. Furry friends should be left at home.

Pops Gonzo. Left to right: Joel Oblizalo, Kevin Ha, Aaron Buechel, Eric Gudgel. Credit: Reid Murphy.


Hoodstock 2019


Skokomish Valley Grange,
2320 W. Skokomish Valley Rd., Shelton


Aug. 16-18




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